Bright Idea: Get to know Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, the Producer

Oscar winner Lupita Amondi Nyong’o won the hearts of people the world over when she emerged on the scene. From her very gripping and raw portrayal of the young slave Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, to her genuinely expressive way with words in her acceptance speeches throughout award season, Lupita has demonstrated such poise, grace, and intelligence, and is a bright light not only in the entertainment world, but in the world at large.

It was her breakout role in the film 12 Years a Slave that turned heads, but Lupita has been a quiet storm for some time. In 2009, she released her first documentary film, In My Genes, on the topic of albinism. Born in Mexico City, Lupita was raised in Kenya and was able to document the lives of several albinos living there. Addressing the common misconceptions people have about albinos, including the idea that they cannot be of the same black family as their siblings, maternal infidelity, and anything else that promotes exclusion, Lupita wanted to give a voice to the voiceless on the topic. In an interview (below) from the 2009 African Film Festival, she points out that she did not want to “Lord over” the documentary film with voice-overs but instead chose to make the stories originate from the subjects’ mouths. Never was it about treating albinism as a negative; Lupita’s documentary is about bringing awareness where there may be ignorance.

Saharatv YouTube

Interestingly, towards the end of the interview Lupita emphasizes the importance of telling stories from one’s perspective, and staying true to that. “We need to find our own voice,” she says.:

Here is the trailer for Lupita’s documentary film, “In My Genes”:

Lupita Nyong’o’s YouTube

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Celeb Optimist of the Day!

Celeb Optimist of the Day!

Actress Keira Knightley, featured on the March 2013 cover of Marie Claire magazine inspires women not to be hard on themselves. Keira is a Celebrity Optimist.

Friends of Celebrity Optimist/TV: Phil Svitek, Executive Producer, AfterBuzz TV

Phil Svitek, Executive Producer, AfterBuzz TV

www.afterbuzztv.com

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Bright Idea: Battle stereotypes with hope

Take a moment to sit still and think about your immediate thoughts when you read the following word:

African

What images comes to mind? There is an organization, founded by Nyla Rodgers, which poses this question. So many times we have the same images of Africa and its people drilled into our psyche; a land of impoverished, violent, sick, helpless people. And while we are well aware of the problems that exist in the continent, the same awareness should be as, if not more, popular for the vibrant, intellectual, driven, optimistic people who also populate the countries!

Mama Hope is on a mission and their mission is to continue to work “in close partnership with local African organizations to connect them with the resources required to transform their own communities. All [their] projects are managed for and by partner communities themselves to ensure sustainability. So far, [they] have achieved [their] mission by funding the completion of schools, health clinics, children’s centers, clean water systems and food security projects.”

(Source: Mama Hope YouTube Channel)

One of their projects that caught my eye, was “Stop the Pity”. On a whole, the movement is Mama Hope’s effort to “re-humanize Africa and look to the positive change that is happening. Through a series of videos Mama Hope wants to show the light of the people we serve in Africa.” What they refer to is “unlocking the potential”. One of the their videos has been quite viral and highlights the stereotypes of African men in Hollywood films.

(Source: Mama Hope YouTube Channel)

What a brilliant way to illustrate their positive message – by contrasting the stereotypes with the realities. If you believe in their cause and would like to know more about it, you can visit their website.

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Celebrity Optimist TV on set with Closets for Causes!

Celebrity Optimist’s Founder Kendra Kabasele stops by Closets for Causes’ wardrobe photo shoot for charity to chat with their Founder, Talia Bella! Model Jeanene Beauregard plays up the wardrobe actress Sophia Bush wore in character, as Brooke Davis, on The CW’s “One Tree Hill”. She brings them to life for the catalog being put together for the online auction. Proceeds from the auction go to the charity of the wardrobe owner’s choosing.

(Source: Celebrity Optimist TV YouTube Channel)

To learn more about Closets for Causes, visit www.closetsforcauses.com and follow them on Twitter @Closets4Causes!

Produced, Written & Edited by Kendra Kabasele

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Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe: Sophie’s Voice Foundation

Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe are another beautiful Hollywood power couple. Their beauty is not only skin deep. Their hearts are filled with love, compassion and charity. In 2008 they founded Sophie’s Voice Foundation. The foundation is named after their daughter, who was diagnosed with Spina Bifida when she was born. Their website for the organization can be found here: http://www.sophiesvoicefoundation.org  It contains all of the pertinent statistics, projections and advances involved with the birth defect. It also focuses on what is sometimes unintentionally overlooked, as is the case with numerous illnesses – prevention.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Spina bifida, [meaning “open spine”], is part of a group of birth defects called neural tube defects. The neural tube is the embryonic structure that eventually develops into the baby’s brain and spinal cord and the tissues that enclose them.”

Sophie’s Voice Foundation was put in place, according to the website, in order to “[support] family outreach programs, prenatal education and surgical studies for children and adults with Spina Bifida.” As one of the pioneering efforts to bring awareness and resolution to the problems associated with Spina Bifida, Sophie’s Voice Foundation also intends to create a Center for Spina Bifida for Research and Prevention.

Here’s a spotlight on the foundation, in their own words:

(Source: Sophie’s Voice YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/SophiesVoice)

 “Sophie’s Voice Foundation is dedicated to saving the lives of children, even before they begin.” – Nicole Ari Parker Kodjoe

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Tisha Campbell-Martin: Colored My Mind

You may know Tisha Campbell-Martin as the hilarious comedic actress who starred in the classic sitcom, “Martin” alongside Martin Lawrence, or the laugh out loud silly show, “My Wife and Kids” with Damon Wayans. Tisha most recently joined the new drama, “The Protector”, which airs Sunday nights on Lifetime.

She has a lengthy career resume, but it’s another leading role that steals the spotlight more than any other – her role as mother. She is a mother of two and her oldest son, who is eight years old, has Autism. While we have heard about Autism in various Hollywood platforms, especially with the big pioneering push for awareness by Jenny McCarthy, as she also has a son with Autism. Tisha is part of a documentary project which not only addresses the disorder, but also extends the push for awareness, within the black community.

The documentary, “Colored My Mind”, allows you to “join five mothers as they take you on their unique journey with the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Tammy McCrary, Shannon Nash, LaDonna Hughley, Donna Hunter, and Tisha Campbell-Martin will be [your] guides as [they] explore the overlooked world of Autism, in particular within the black community.”

The trailer is intense and offers insight into what the disorder means, who it touches and how mothers, and fathers, are standing up to it.

(Source: original video source: http://www.coloredmymind.com/#!the-trailer)

Autism defined: Autism is one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that appear in early childhood — usually before age 3. Though symptoms and severity vary, all autism disorders affect a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. The number of children diagnosed with autism appears to be rising. It’s not clear whether this is due to better detection and reporting of autism, a real increase in the number of cases, or both. While there is no cure for autism, intensive, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children with the disorder. (Source : Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism/DS00348)

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